HomeBLOGCool Mist Humidifier Buying Guide

Cool Mist Humidifier Buying Guide

Getting the best cool mist humidifier is important to get your purchase’s real value.

Generally, humidifiers are devices that help prevent a lot of unpleasantness from dry air. They do this by adding water or moisture to indoor air to increase the humidity level because, during the wintertime, it can often be scorched.

Dry air can lead to a lot of unpleasantness like:

  • Bloody noses
  • Cracked lips
  • Itchy skin
  • Irritated throats
  • Allergy symptoms
  • Asthma flare-ups
  • Also, ailments include colds, congestion problems, sinus infections, aggravated respiratory passages, etc.

Humidifiers do more than prevent unpleasantness and protect your health; they also protect your home’s wood furnishing, as indoor air could cause your wood flooring and furnishing to crack, shrink, or separate. A humidifier is the best option as these damages can be expensive.

As many cool mist humidifiers are on the market and you might be lost fast, we will help you find the best one and understand why. Here is the list of the top 5 best air cool mist humidifiers today before jumping to the guide.

Top 5 Best Cool Mist Humidifiers

1. Honeywell HCM-350 Germ-Free Cool Mist Humidifier

Honeywell HCM350W Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifier

Honeywell has generally received positive reviews from consumers who purchase their products. Although some customers complained about constant maintenance and replacement of filters, most reviews say their humidifiers work effectively, are quiet, and easy to clean.

Honeywell HCM-350 is an affordable console-type cool mist humidifier that uses an evaporative system. It uses UV technology to eliminate impurities like water-bred germs and bacteria.

The humidifier also has a self-regulating system that prevents over humidification of the room.

The HCM-350 lacks many key features like a low water indicator, an automatic shut-off feature, and a humidistat for monitoring humidity. Still, it makes up for it with its performance. For a humidifier covering a 500 sq. ft room space, the HCM-350 runs quietly, producing only pleasant white noise.


  • Type: Console
  • Room Coverage: 500 sq. ft.
  • Tank Capacity: 1.1 gallons
  • Humidification Performance: 2.3 gallons per 24 hours
  • Controls: Electronic
  • Weight: 8.36 Ibs
  • Warranty: 3 years


  • Affordable
  • Much quieter due to the lack of fans
  • Large room coverage
  • Easy to maintain


  • No automatic shut off
  • No low water indicator
  • No humidistat
  • Wick filter requires regular replacement

2. Essick Air AIRCARE MA1201 Humidifier

AIRCARE MA1201 Whole-House Console-Style Evaporative Humidifier

Essick Air is another top humidifier brand that produces great humidifiers with many positive customer reviews. Although not every customer is happy with Essick Air humidifiers, some customers have complained about noise levels and refill the tank frequently.

The Essick Air AIRCARE MA1201 is a whole-house humidifier with a 3.6-gallon tank. It uses a self-regulating evaporative system and is capable of humidifying up to 3600 sq. ft.

The MA1201 weighs 13.5 Ibs, which you should expect for a whole-house humidifier. It also comes with many features that make it easy to use, like a filter change indicator, which lets you know when to change the wick filter. Other features include a humidistat, auto mode, low water indicator, and an automatic shut-off.

The main downside of the MA1201 is the noise; most users gave bad reviews on loud noise even on the low setting. There is also an issue with its dated design and bulky appearance, making it look quite unattractive.

However, the MA1201 is still considered one of the best cool mist humidifiers for large homes due to its key features, making it easy to use, and its modest price tag.


  • Type: Console
  • Room Coverage: 3600 sq. ft.
  • Tank Capacity: 3.6 gallons
  • Humidification Performance: 10.5 gallons per 24 hours
  • Controls: Electronic
  • Weight: 13.5 Ibs
  • Warranty: 2 years


  • It comes with an automatic shut off
  • Has the low water indicator feature
  • Very affordable considering it is a whole-house humidifier
  • Humidifies quickly
  • Easy to maintain
  • Whole-house humidification


  • Loud
  • Dated design
  • Large and cumbersome
  • Wick filter requires regular replacement

3. Vicks Filter-Free Ultrasonic Visible Cool Mist Humidifier

Vicks V4600 Filter-free, Ultrasonic, Visible Cool Mist Humidifier for Medium rooms

Vicks Filter-Free Ultrasonic Visible Cool Mist Humidifier is a quiet humidifier that works on the ultrasonic humidifier system, so it does not require replacement filters. Vick Filter-Free humidifier is a great choice for medium rooms, baby rooms, and children’s rooms because it is quiet during use.

It is also easy to maintain and has a 1.2-gallon tank that can give up to 30 hours of soothing mist.

It also comes with many key features like an automatic shut-off when the minimum water level and a humidistat monitor humidity.

Most customers who have used the Vicks Filter-Free humidifier have given positive reviews, with 54% of 942 customer reviews giving it a 5-star rating on Amazon.


  • Room Coverage: 400 sq. ft.
  • Tank Capacity: 1.2 gallons
  • Humidification Performance: 30 hours per fill
  • Weight: 4.7 Ibs


  • Much quieter due to the lack of fans
  • Does not require replacement filters
  • Comes with an automatic shut off
  • Humidifies quickly
  • Easy to maintain


  • Leaves white dust
  • It only humidifies small spaces.
  • Requires regular cleaning

4. Pure Enrichment MistAire Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier

Pure Enrichment MistAire Ultrasonic

With more than 60% of 10,000 reviews on Amazon giving a 5-star rating, the Pure Enrichment MistAire XL Humidifier tops are among the most popular cool mist humidifiers.

The humidifier works on the ultrasonic cool mist technology, which means you wouldn’t need replacement filters. It moisturizes the air for up to 16 hours of continuous operation with its 1.5-Liter water tank.

One of the reasons for its popularity is its affordable price. It also comes with an automatic shut-off feature, its own cleaning brush, and single and dual mist nozzles.

However, the MistAire XL disadvantage is the lack of key features like a low-water indicator feature and a humidistat. The water tank also has a tiny opening, which makes cleaning and maintenance difficult. Users often complain that the cleaning brush is not enough to get the job done, and the humidifier easily cracks or breaks if dropped.


  • Room Coverage: 500 sq. ft.
  • Tank Capacity: 1.0 gallons
  • Humidification Performance: 1.5 gallons per 24 hours
  • Weight: 3.57 Ibs


  • Much quieter due to the lack of fans
  • Does not require replacement filters
  • Comes with an automatic shut off
  • Humidifies quickly
  • Easy to maintain


  • Leaves white dust
  • It only humidifies small spaces.
  • Requires regular cleaning

5. VicTsing Cool Mist Humidifier

VicTsing Cool Mist Humidifier

VicTsing Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier is another great choice for consumers looking for affordable and effective humidifiers to humidify their homes.

VicTsing Cool Mist Humidifier is quite small, with only a 0.53 gallon (2 liters) water tank size. Still, it is quiet and has key features like a low water indicator feature and an automatic shut-off feature, but it lacks a humidistat.

Nevertheless, most customers who make up 72% of 1,100 reviews gave it a 5-star rating on Amazon, citing generally favorable reviews about its efficiency, effectiveness, and maintenance.

A downside of this humidifier is that it works only in small spaces of about 100 – 270 sq. ft. It is the best choice if you want to humidify your baby’s room, bedroom, or medium-sized room, but if you want to go larger, this is not the right humidifier for you.


  • Room Coverage: 270 sq. ft.
  • Tank Capacity: 0.55 gallons
  • Weight: 2.45 Ibs


  • Much quieter due to the lack of fans
  • Does not require replacement filters
  • Comes with an automatic shut off
  • Comes with a low water indicator feature
  • Humidifies quickly
  • Easy to maintain


  • Leaves white dust
  • Only humidifies small spaces
  • Requires regular cleaning

What is a Cool Mist Humidifier?

A cool-mist humidifier is a type of humidifier that produces and releases room-temperature mist. Unlike warm mist humidifiers, they don’t add to the room’s ambient temperature.

Cool mist humidifiers include a refillable water tank and either a fan that blows cool air into a room; it might include a diaphragm that vibrates to break water down into a mist.

Cool mist humidifiers are the most popular humidifier choice on the market, mostly because they are more affordable than warm mist humidifiers; they also work in large areas and are easy to maintain.

On the downside, they require regular maintenance. You would have to refill it frequently, clean it regularly, and replace the wick occasionally. Like many other devices, lack of maintenance leads to faults like mold and bacteria in the tank. This makes the air the humidifier produces more harmful than helpful.

You should only buy this type of humidifier if you are 100% sure you are ready to maintain it regularly.

As you go through this buying guide, you will find more information on this humidifier’s maintenance to enable you to make the right choice.

Types of Cool Mist Humidifiers

There are three types of cool mist humidifiers, with the most common choices being ultrasonic and evaporative cool mist humidifiers.

Evaporative Cool Mist Humidifiers

Evaporative Cool Mist Humidifiers

Evaporative cool mist humidifiers use a wick filter that absorbs the water from the tank and filters out impurities. The fan draws in the air from the room and blows it over the moistened wick. Some of the water evaporates, and the water vapor is added to the air, which increases the humidity. The fan blows the cooled air back into the room to increase the humidity in the room. 

The air blown out is cooler and cleaner due to the cleansing by the wick filter.

Evaporative cool mist humidifiers are the most common option for buyers because they are cheaper and have been around for a much longer time, so you could say people have gotten used to them.

One thing that makes the evaporative humidifiers a great choice is using a self-regulating system, unlike ultrasonic cool mist humidifiers. This self-regulating feature prevents the risk of over-humidifying the room, which would be counterproductive.

A downside of the evaporative cool mist humidifiers is that they are pretty loud than the ultrasonic humidifiers. If you keep your humidifier in your bedroom, the noise could affect your sleep quality. The fan causes the noise in evaporative humidifiers.

Evaporative cool mist humidifiers require frequent maintenance for them to keep working efficiently. The wick filter removes impurities and prevents minerals from being spread into the room, which needs to be replaced regularly.


  • They use up less energy compared to other types of humidifiers.
  • It does not include hot parts or surfaces, which makes it childproof and safe for pets.
  • The filter traps impurities, which makes the blown air cleaner and healthier.


  • Requires regular cleaning to prevent the build-up of mold and bacteria
  • The Wick filter needs to be replaced regularly.
  • The Loud noise would affect sleep quality.

Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifiers


Rather than a fan, ultrasonic cool mist humidifiers use a diaphragm that vibrates at ultrasonic speed to break down water into a mist. However, a silent fan (in some models) pushes the mist up and out into the room.

This is the popular choice for consumers who find cool evaporative mist humidifies too loud and constantly needs maintenance too annoying. 

Ultrasonic humidifiers don’t use wick filters, so you don’t have to worry about replacing anything, although you will still have to refill the tank and clean it occasionally.

Ultrasonic humidifiers can either emit cool mist only, warm mist, or both. Ultrasonic humidifiers that can emit both cool and warm mist are called dual mist ultrasonic humidifiers.

The Dual mist and cool mist ultrasonic humidifiers are the popular choices among the three.

The main downside of ultrasonic cool mist humidifiers is that in breaking water to create a mist, white dust is also produced, spread around the room during use.


  • Much quieter due to the lack of fans
  • They use up less energy compared to other types of humidifiers.
  • It does not require replacement of wick or filters
  • Easy to maintain
  • Easier to use compared to other humidifiers
  • It does not include hot parts or surfaces, which make it childproof and safe for pets.


  • They are costlier than evaporative humidifiers.
  • They can only humidify small spaces.
  • They produce dust that will settle in the room. It is advised to use only distilled or dematerialized water.
  • Requires regular cleaning to prevent the build-up of mold and bacteria

Impeller Humidifiers

Impeller Humidifiers

Compared to the evaporative and ultrasonic humidifiers, Impeller humidifiers are the least popular choice for consumers. There is a continuous decline in usage and demand for this humidifier, resulting from its lack of key features.

Impeller humidifiers make use of rotating discs to throw water at a diffuser. This water then breaks into very fine droplets that float out into the air. To the human eye, these droplets are seen as cool mist released from the humidifier.

The impeller humidifier also houses a water tank that needs to be cleaned regularly to avoid bacteria and mold build-up.  


  • They use up less energy compared to other types of humidifiers.
  • It does not require replacement of wick or filters
  • It does not include hot parts or surfaces, which make it childproof and safe for pets.
  • Covers larger areas


  • It isn’t quietist due to the rotating discs.
  • They produce dust that will settle in the room. It is advised to use only distilled or dematerialized water.
  • Requires regular cleaning to prevent the build-up of mold and bacteria

Things to Consider When Buying a Cool Mist Humidifier

When picking out a specific model of cool mist humidifiers, there are some factors you need first to consider before settling for that model.


The cost of Cool mist humidifiers ranges from $20 to over $600. The reason for the price differences is due to several factors. One of these factors includes the features present in the models. A model with a low water indicator feature, an automatic shut-off feature, and a humidistat will definitely cost more than one which lacks these features.

However, the main factor affecting the price of different models is the amount of space the humidifier covers – a whole house humidifier will cost you more than one that only works in small spaces.

Another factor is the type of cool mist humidifier you’re going for. Ultrasonic humidifiers tend to cost more than evaporative humidifiers for a similar amount of coverage.

Evaporative cool mist humidifiers come with an extra cost as you have to replace the filter regularly compared to the ultrasonic humidifier, which does not require filter replacements.


How to Clean A Humidifier

Every type of humidifier requires constant maintenance for it to keep functioning properly. Both types require constant tank refills, which could be twice or thrice a day, depending on your model’s tank capacity.

Evaporative humidifiers require regular filter replacement to keep the mist clean and healthy. In contrast, ultrasonic humidifiers emit white dust, so you’d have to do some dusting and cleaning around the room after use.

Both humidifiers require regular cleaning to avoid the build-up of mold and bacteria.

When picking a humidifier, always go with the one you would easily maintain to prevent health complications from unclean air and waste of resources due to early damage or breakage.


If you’re going for affordable humidifiers to humidify your whole house, then you would need more than one, as the most affordable humidifiers are only designed to humidify small spaces.

Several affordable humidifiers cover a room of up to 270 to 500 sq. ft, which is a great option if you want to humidify only a small room or just your reading area.

For larger room coverage or whole-house coverage, you’ll need to look for humidifiers that can cover wider spaces like about 500 to 3000 sq. ft.

Room coverage is usually listed on the product specifications page (if you’re buying from Amazon) of every cool mist humidifier. Always check if it suits your needs before purchasing. You can also measure the amount of space that needs to be humidified before picking a model.


If you’re placing your humidifier in your bedroom, you need to consider whether the noise will affect your sleep ability.

Unlike evaporative humidifiers, ultrasonic humidifiers are quieter due to the lack of fans. The fans in evaporative humidifiers tend to be noisy and loud during use.

You should also consider the size of the humidifier you are searching for since large humidifiers tend to produce more noise than small portable humidifiers.

Tank Capacity

Humidifier tank capacity

Most users of small humidifiers complain about having to refill constantly. If you’re someone who would find that pretty annoying, you would want to go for a humidifier with a larger tank capacity.

However, the tank capacity is directly proportional to the amount of space the humidifier covers.


Some humidifiers come with some key features that make them better in comparison to others. These features make them easy to use and maintain and also make them last longer.

Humidistat – A humidistat monitors the humidity in the room. A humidistat works by automatically turning off the humidifier when your set humidity level has been reached.

Auto Shutoff – This works in hand with the humidistat when the desired humidity level is reacheth the auto shut-off features shut off the humidifier when the water in the tank gets too low.

Low water indicator – These features including a lighting system. In most cases, a green LED light signals a filled tank, and a red LED light signals a low water tank.

Combination Models – Several humidifiers offer settings for both warm mist and cool mist. This can be advantageous if you want to switch between them during different seasons.

Timer – The timer feature would come in handy, especially if you don’t want the humidifier running all the time. The timer will automatically turn on and off the humidifier at the set time. This can help prevent your room from becoming too humid and save you from refilling the tank often.

Advantages of Cool Mist Humidifiers over Warm Mist Humidifiers

Although cool mist humidifiers and warm mist humidifiers are equally effective at humidifying the air, cool mist humidifiers have some advantages over warm mist humidifiers.

Affordable – Cool mist humidifiers are generally more affordable during purchase and long-term usage than warm mist humidifiers. This is because they use simpler systems of operation and do not require heating systems.

More extensive room coverage – Cool mist humidors can cover large areas up to 3600 sq. ft compared to warm humidifiers, which perform best in small areas.

Energy-efficient – Cool mist humidifiers consume less energy than warm mist humidifiers since they don’t need to heat water to produce steam.

Safer around children and pets – Cool mist humidifiers do not use a heating system, unlike warm mist humidifiers, which produce steam using high heat. This can cause parts of the humidifier to become quite hot during use, which makes them unsafe to be around children and pets.

Disadvantages of cool mist humidifiers

High maintenance – Cool mist humidifiers require constant maintenance to prevent the build-up of bacteria and mold. This is because cool mist humidifiers make use of room temperature, which increases the chances of these organisms growing within the tank and the wick filter.

Some cool mist humidifiers required weekly cleaning, which might be annoying to some people. If the humidifier is not kept clean, it will reduce its efficiency and effectiveness and spread bacteria, mold, and viruses through the mist it produces.

Noise – With evaporative and impeller humidifiers, you should expect some noise due to the fans and rotating discs. Also, the larger the humidifier, the more noise it will produce.

However, ultrasonic humidifiers are generally quieter regardless of whether it is a warm or cool mist humidifier.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is white dust, and how to prevent it?

For most ultrasonic humidifier users, white dust is a common problem.

White dust is caused by mineral content present in water that goes into a humidifier. When a humidifier uses tap water, the mist it produces leaves dried mineral deposits known as white dust on surfaces, bed clothing, and furniture. This could be problematic for people with respiratory health conditions like allergies and asthma.

White dust cly be prevented by using distilled or demineralized water for your humidifier, or you would purchase a demineralization cartridge for your humidifier, which can trap minerals before they become airborne. The latter option is more affordable since distilled water is quite expensive.

How often do I have to change the wick filter?

How often you should change the wick filter depends on your usage of the humidifier. Wick filters generally last from 1 month to 3 months. For some people, it might be shorter or longer.

Changing your wick filter is very important since it can be breeding grounds for bacteria and mold, which will lead to clogging.

A clogged wick filter reduces your humidifier’s efficiency, causing it to use more energy to produce mist than it normally should. This will cause the humidifier to burn out quickly and reduce its longevity.

This can be prevented through regular checks of the wick filter for bacterial and mold growth signs, which is evident by a darkening of the filter. Also, signs like reduced humidity output compared to similar settings would signal a dirty wick filter.

If dirty, you can either clean or replace the wick filter. Some wick filters can easily be cleaned by rinsing them under running water and then allowing them to soak in a mixture of water and white vinegar for 30 minutes. If you’ve done this and your humidifier still doesn’t function properly, then you should replace the wick filter.

Final Thoughts

Getting the right cool mist humidifier is not only important for relieving the unpleasantness that comes with dry air, but it is also important to get to the right model that works effectively, lasts longer, and wouldn’t trouble your sleep.

Make sure you weigh the advantages and disadvantages of any humidifier model you wish to purchase, and always use this buying guide to help you make the right choice.

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